In a recent Leonia School Board meeting, a variety of significant developments emerged, including increased graduation readiness and notable success in the English Language Learner (ELL) program. The meetings also served as a platform for local residents’ concerns, deliberations on the board’s spending, and progress reports on various district-wide initiatives.
In an exciting update, the board revealed a remarkable increase in graduation readiness scores, according to the New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment (NJGPA). Scores rose by 4% in math and 34% in English Language Arts, consistently surpassing state averages. The board highlighted successful strategies from the ’22-’23 academic year that contributed to this improvement, such as the use of high-low texts and teacher training in multi-sensory reading strategies. These strategies are set to continue into the ’23-’24 academic year, supported by grant funding.
The ELL program, another significant topic of discussion, showed substantial success. With a 100% increase in students achieving the state-mandated exit score of 4.5, and an average student stay of only 2.1 years in the program, the district outperformed other districts significantly. The board lauded the high-intensity program’s strategies, including two ELL classes per day and providing sheltered English instruction to teachers. As part of future plans, the board aims to provide more training for staff, facilitate teacher collaboration, and strengthen parent outreach.
Looking forward, the board recognized the need for efficient communication, implementing initiatives to improve contact with families, particularly those in the ELL program.
In other news, in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, FEMA awarded the district $891,000 for mitigation projects to prevent future flooding damage. The district also received an additional $1.1 million, easing the financial burden of the damages.
Finally, one community member, Arthur J, questioned a $200,000 expenditure for a media center upgrade and the appointment of two head basketball coaches. While the board did not provide immediate answers, they promised to follow up.